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'If Narendra Modi becomes the next PM, the country will record rapid growth'
This is the view of the noted economist D H Pai Panandiker, who also said that Modi knows the pulse of the people and where the 'shoe pinches.' With the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi again winning the state assembly elections for the third time running, the BJP leader's political claim to spearhead the BJP in 2014 general elections has become stronger after out-outmaneuvering the challenge from Rahul Gandhi and Shankersinh Vaghela. As the country nears general elections in 2014, the thought of Modi as the next Prime Minister of India has become part of many people's expectations after major bungling by the UPA-II government in economic policy, foreign affairs, and governance during its two terms.

MANY BELIEVE that Modi, having mastered the political art of managing a large industrial state neighbouring Pakistan for three terms, is now ready to be given the next logical challenging role - of being the Prime Minister of India. He understands how the 'state' functions in a globalized world, and has experience in bringing together resources, political will, entrepreneurship and implementation at the grass roots level. As the Chief Minister of a rapidly developing state, Modi has led and understands execution of large projects. Gujarat is as multi-cultural and multi-religious as any other Indian state, an aspect of India that Modi has learned to manage.

Given the track record of Modi in governance, while speaking to many citizens in Gujarat and other cities of the country, this citizen journalist came across multiple views about the prospect of Modi as the next Prime Minister when general elections are held in 2014. Given below are some of the views and suggestions followed by the details of the person who gave the feedback.

Views on Narendra Modi as a Prime Ministerial candidate and expectations from him once in power:

One of the reasons why our economy has slowed down quite a lot is because of the loss confidence i.e. confidence in governance. That is a very major handicap for growth. So I think one thing that Narendra Modi as Prime Minister has to certainly think about is how to strengthen governance, so that decisions are taken speedily and they are implemented as soon as possible - whether projects are with the government or have been given to the private sector.

So these are some central issues that any future Prime Minister has to address. Land (acquisition) is one other major issues that needs to be seen. The land acquisition policy that our government is going to introduce is absolutely against development because if you want to set up an industry you need land and that land is not easily available. Industry has to purchase the land from farmers. This policy makes it very difficult to buy the land. The third issue is of electricity and water towards which lots of attention will have to be paid. In Gujarat, all these problems have been very well taken care of by Mr. Modi. I think in that sense if he (Narendra Modi) becomes the PM, I think we can look forward to a period of rapid growth, because he knows where the shoe pinches and he has really taken care to see that it doesn't pinch.

- D H Pai Panandiker, noted economist.

We should give Narendra Modi a chance to serve as the country's next Prime Minister. It's a known fact that a strong leader at the top makes a lot of difference. If you look back in history, India was stronger under Vajpayee, Shastri and Indira Gandhi. India needs someone to act in a decisive manner. A Prime Minister can't take into consideration everybody's opinions and then not act because there is no consensus.

The BJP and the country should consider some facts. Modi again won in Gujarat as both urban and rural areas voted for him and his party - the BJP. Modi won despite many allegations made by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Had people been unsatisfied, the people of Gujarat would not have voted for him. Second, people across the country are fed up. Rehman Malik comes to India and speaks all sorts of nonsense. We are letting the Chinese humiliate and dictate to us. Pakistan is dilly-dallying in giving MFN status to us. All around, take up any national parameter, we are losing ground. Third, in 2014, there will a large young floating population who will be voting for the first time. They have seen the performance of the current government, and may give the BJP another chance. If this happens, then Modi will be one of the reasons why the BJP should rally around him. Fourth, Modi is a person who has the intelligence and resolve to carry out crucial reforms in judiciary, police and elections.

- Brigadier Arun Bajpai (Retd.), writer and analyst of strategic affairs, defense, and foreign policy, Uttar Pradesh.

If Narendra Modi comes in as the next Prime Minister, there are two things I am expecting from him. One is that he has to be more sensitive towards inclusive growth. Because GDP itself is not the touch stone of development. Even when the income of Reliance increases manifold, the GDP will show an increase. But when farmers commit suicide it is not reflected in the GDP. So I think there has to be correction made. As a Prime Minister, I hope he will be aware or conscious of this side, which means raising GDP is not the only task of a Prime Minister.

Secondly, I am sure he will have new plans regarding restructuring our economic policy because with the current one that the UPA is following, I don't think the country is likely to go anywhere. At the moment we need change not only of the mind set, but also economic mindset, which means the entire growth paradigm has to undergo a change. It has to ensure that the benefits of growth are distributed equitably and judiciously across all spectrum our society in all parts of the country.

However, I am a little worried about agricultural policies he will underatake. He has talked about the same second green revolution model, which the UPA government is trying to promote. I expect him to be more concerned towards agriculture. The obsession with agriculture growth must end and the focus should be on increasing farmers' income.

- Devinder Sharma, Food Policy Expert.

Mr. Narendra Modi is a very futuristic leader. He always see 5-10 years beyond today. When he came to Gujarat he saw a dream that he wants to take the state to a certain (development) level in the next 10 years. And he has actually brought Gujarat to the next level. He has a good vision. He has very strong communication skills. He knows what the public wants. He communicates well to the public using social media. Almost everyone knows what he is doing and everybody wants to do the same. Although sometimes he can come across as dictatorial but his decision-making is very fast and very guided. I would say his decision-making is much better than any other contemporary leader. We all want him to replicate Gujarat's development model in the entire country.

- Harsh Rathi, Chartered Accountant, Ahmedabad.

Narendra Modi comes across as a charismatic figure and seems to have what it takes to be a good Prime Minister. If he does become the Prime Minister, it will be further proof of his mettle on any turf beyond Gujarat. However, even if he becomes Prime Minister, Indians should not hope for a dramatic change in our foreign policy towards Pakistan or China. First, nobody wishes to jump into most troubled waters. Second, the foreign policy is not one man's wish in a democracy, and in an era of coalition governments, Mr. Modi, despite everything, may not prefer to dictate terms on such a big issue.

- Sandeep Datta, journalist (international news), Delhi.

100 per cent, Narendra Modi has the leadership qualities to be the Prime Minister of this nation. He takes quick and proper decisions, whether it is for development of industry and infrastructure or for public health and security. He may appear a bit autocratic but our country needs such a firm and clean leader, as too much democracy has been bad for India from all angles, as we saw in 2012.

- Dr. Asha Paidhungat, Ex-Professor and Head of Deptt. of Medicine from Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai.

- Damanjeet Kohli, is a resident of Gurgaon and a self-proclaimed Congress supporter.

The question of Modi becoming the next Prime Minister hinges on whether BJP is able to muster up enough seats to be in a position to form a  government. I think the central leader who is behind Modi will be lobbying for Modi to bring him to the Centre. One thing we should learn from the past - that even the BJP was on full Hindutva agenda with the charisma of Atalji, the BJP won only 182 seats. My fear is that due to lack of coalition partners BJP may fail to form a a government at the Centre even if it wins 200 seats in 2014. But one thing is for sure, if Modi comes to the Centre - BJP leaders will act more disciplined.

- Bhawesh Jha, head of a survey agency, New Delhi.

(With additional reporting by Rohit Karir)

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